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December 11, 2015

Must-Read Book Recommendations

By John DePasquale
Grades 6–8

    The results are in, and my students have spoken. These books are the most requested, checked out and, at this point, dog-eared new books in our classroom library. It is my tradition to create a list before winter vacation of the most popular new books, and these books are truly trending. If you're looking for great book recommendations that will have your students reading over winter vacation and well into the New Year, these titles certainly won't disappoint.

     

    Becoming Maria: Love and Chaos in the South Bronx by Sonia Manzano 

    Through this powerful and poignant memoir, Sonia Manzano invites readers back with her to the 1950s as she weaves a narrative that describes the sights, sounds, and emotions of her childhood in the South Bronx. Her experiences are at times heartrendering, but because of her determination and focus she eventually found a home as Maria on one of the most famous streets in America: Sesame Street.

    As a testament to resiliency and strength in spite of challenges, Manzano’s memoir resonates with many middle school readers.   

    Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, Book 1 The Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan


    Rick Riordan’s first book in his latest series was undoubtedly the most anticipated new book of the fall, and this book continues to have the longest waitlist in our classroom library.

    What he did with Percy Jackson and Greek mythology, Riordan does once again with Magnus Chase and Norse mythology. Magnus Chase, a homeless teen living in Boston, is dramatically pulled into worlds beyond his imagination when his true identity as a Norse demigod is revealed. As a result of accepting this revelation, Magnus embarks on a quest to reclaim a sword that rightfully belongs to his family, and gets a crash course in Norse mythology along the way. Take my word for it, this brilliant new book is like a Wagner opera with teen angst.

    Threatened by Eliot Schrefer

    Threatened is a novel told from the perspective of Luc, an AIDS orphan living in Gabon. A researcher, who calls himself Prof, offers Luc a job assisting his study of wild chimpanzees in the Gabonese jungle. The personal histories of Luc and Prof both include aspects of rejection, and it is through his experiences in the jungle with the chimpanzees that Luc learns about life, love, loss and the need for acceptance.

    The Marvels by Brian Selznick

    After The Invention of Hugo Cabret and Wonderstruck, the master storyteller Brian Selznick has done it again. Told through enthralling illustrations and compelling prose, The Marvels intertwines stories about family, identity and secrets. The epic family history of the Marvels from 1766 to 1900 unfolds through Selznick’s stunning images in the first part of this book. The second part, separated from the first by 90 years, is about 13-year-old Joseph and his desire to learn about his family and his Uncle Albert. Selznick thoughtfully guides readers through both of these stories as they become one.

    The Crossover by Kwame Alexander

    Told in verse, The Crossover introduces readers to twin brothers and basketball powerhouses, Josh and Jordan. Beyond the basketball court, Josh posses a gift for expressive rhymes that seem to flow from his core. Basketball, fraternal bonds, and the striking realness of life’s challenges are packed into these rhymes.

    Kwame Alexander turned many students in my class onto poetry and awakens the reader that lives within even the most reluctant.

    I hope you have the opportunity to sample and recommended these books. I wish all readers a happy new year, and a year’s worth of good reading and amazing books ahead.

    And for family, friends, and readers, I also wish you a happy 25 percent off on your Scholastic Store shopping with the coupon below.

     

    The results are in, and my students have spoken. These books are the most requested, checked out and, at this point, dog-eared new books in our classroom library. It is my tradition to create a list before winter vacation of the most popular new books, and these books are truly trending. If you're looking for great book recommendations that will have your students reading over winter vacation and well into the New Year, these titles certainly won't disappoint.

     

    Becoming Maria: Love and Chaos in the South Bronx by Sonia Manzano 

    Through this powerful and poignant memoir, Sonia Manzano invites readers back with her to the 1950s as she weaves a narrative that describes the sights, sounds, and emotions of her childhood in the South Bronx. Her experiences are at times heartrendering, but because of her determination and focus she eventually found a home as Maria on one of the most famous streets in America: Sesame Street.

    As a testament to resiliency and strength in spite of challenges, Manzano’s memoir resonates with many middle school readers.   

    Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, Book 1 The Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan


    Rick Riordan’s first book in his latest series was undoubtedly the most anticipated new book of the fall, and this book continues to have the longest waitlist in our classroom library.

    What he did with Percy Jackson and Greek mythology, Riordan does once again with Magnus Chase and Norse mythology. Magnus Chase, a homeless teen living in Boston, is dramatically pulled into worlds beyond his imagination when his true identity as a Norse demigod is revealed. As a result of accepting this revelation, Magnus embarks on a quest to reclaim a sword that rightfully belongs to his family, and gets a crash course in Norse mythology along the way. Take my word for it, this brilliant new book is like a Wagner opera with teen angst.

    Threatened by Eliot Schrefer

    Threatened is a novel told from the perspective of Luc, an AIDS orphan living in Gabon. A researcher, who calls himself Prof, offers Luc a job assisting his study of wild chimpanzees in the Gabonese jungle. The personal histories of Luc and Prof both include aspects of rejection, and it is through his experiences in the jungle with the chimpanzees that Luc learns about life, love, loss and the need for acceptance.

    The Marvels by Brian Selznick

    After The Invention of Hugo Cabret and Wonderstruck, the master storyteller Brian Selznick has done it again. Told through enthralling illustrations and compelling prose, The Marvels intertwines stories about family, identity and secrets. The epic family history of the Marvels from 1766 to 1900 unfolds through Selznick’s stunning images in the first part of this book. The second part, separated from the first by 90 years, is about 13-year-old Joseph and his desire to learn about his family and his Uncle Albert. Selznick thoughtfully guides readers through both of these stories as they become one.

    The Crossover by Kwame Alexander

    Told in verse, The Crossover introduces readers to twin brothers and basketball powerhouses, Josh and Jordan. Beyond the basketball court, Josh posses a gift for expressive rhymes that seem to flow from his core. Basketball, fraternal bonds, and the striking realness of life’s challenges are packed into these rhymes.

    Kwame Alexander turned many students in my class onto poetry and awakens the reader that lives within even the most reluctant.

    I hope you have the opportunity to sample and recommended these books. I wish all readers a happy new year, and a year’s worth of good reading and amazing books ahead.

    And for family, friends, and readers, I also wish you a happy 25 percent off on your Scholastic Store shopping with the coupon below.

     

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